3 of the Best Vintage Games Consoles

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Sometimes old consoles are the best consoles
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Sometimes old consoles are the best consoles

As any gamer worth their salt will tell you, from around the early 80s to the late 90s there was a real golden age of video games, which saw a raft of truly unforgettable titles released on some amazing consoles. We take a look at three of the best.

While today’s all-singing, all-dancing machines can seemingly do everything short of finishing a level for you, back then our computers were focused purely on the games, with story, character and playability all crucial factors.

There are still loads of great reasons to go retro and invest in one of these older consoles, whether it’s to revisit great characters like Mario and Sonic, who have now become superstars in their own right, or to experience some truly great gaming moments for the first time.

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1. The SNES

Released in Europe in 1992 by Nintendo, the older brother of the Wii was one of the most successful consoles of all time, selling millions all over the world.

It was a game-changer in terms of graphics and sound, featuring a 16-bit microprocessor that could create some impressive 3D effects and high-quality audio.

With their instantly recognisable four-button controllers and chunky game packs, the SNES became a global icon that set the bar which consoles of today still try to hit.

Top games

1. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Once played, never forgotten, this is the story of Link’s quest to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil forces of Agahnim, who is threatening to unleash an evil wizard called Ganon.

With beautiful visuals, challenging puzzles and some terrifying end-of-level bosses it was the sheer imagination that went into creating this game that has had players hooked ever since.

2. Super Mario World
Mario, the Italian plumber with the bushy moustache and red cap, has had many outings since, but this remains one of his greatest moments.
Backed up by the fire-breathing lizard Yoshi, Mario and his brother Luigi must battle Bowser to stop the destruction of Dinosaur Land.

3. Star Fox
Flying through the stellar system of Lylat in his Arwing spacecraft, Fox McCloud must defend his planet against the forces of Andross accompanied his squad of animal wingmen.

This was one of the first 3D Nintendo games, while it also made innovative use of power-ups, as well as allowing players to interact with different characters in ways that had not been seen before.

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2. The Mega Drive

Based on the same technology as some of Sega’s arcade machines, it’s no wonder this little black box was so powerful, with its great graphics and addictive games.

Around 900 titles were eventually released for this console, while games for its predecessor the Master System could also be played if a special adapter was installed.

The Mega Drive was followed by the Saturn and the Dreamcast, but for many Sega never managed to capture the same magic.

1. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic literally left most other platform games in the dust, introducing the element of speed and allowing players to blast through levels at breakneck pace.

You must battle an army of robots to defeat Dr Robotnik, but the plot is nowhere near as important as the great levels and bonus stages.

2. The Lion King
This was a bit of a surprise hit at the time, but looking back it’s impossible to see how the fantastic graphics and incredible levels could fail to appeal.
It managed to bring the Disney film to life for younger players, while also challenging older Sega fans.

3. Streets Of Rage 2 
Drawing on Sega’s arcade heritage, this was a side-scrolling fighter with a huge range of characters, special moves and weapons.
 
What made this game so special was not only its standard mode, but also its multiplayer option that let players join forces with friends to complete levels.

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3. The Atari 7800

Sleek and stylish, with two joysticks designed to resemble classic arcades, it’s no wonder the Atari 7800 has become so iconic.

But it wasn’t just about the looks – this console had the games to match and could also support titles from the earlier Atari 2600.

And with its MARIA graphics chip, the visuals were a huge advancement on everything that had come before.

1. Ballblazer 
There was little you couldn’t love about this video-game classic, which involved playing football in huge hovercrafts on a stadium-sized 3D chessboard.
 
Once you’d hunted down a big yellow energy ball and locked it on to your craft, you had to drive it into the back of the goal, while being careful not to let your opponent crash into you.
 
2. Food Fight 
This was another quirky, yet seriously addictive, title that had originally seen huge success in arcades around the world.
 
Play as Charley Chuck and race to an ice cream at the other end of the screen with four chefs emerging from holes in the floor to give chase.
 
3. Xevious 
Bomb, blast and blow away enemies in your Solvalou aircraft in this fast-paced shooter, which made full use of the Atari’s graphics chip to create some stunning scenery.
 
With 16 areas in total, you can fly over jungle, enemy bases and airstrips and fight some challenging final bosses, considered to be among the first in video-game history.
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